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Communication is an important part of the flight. In order to have good communication between aircraft and ground the communication system is used, this system provides both voice and data communication (1.3.1). Some of the data communications are shown on the Multi Function Display (MFD) (1.3.2). A lot of information needed during the flight is given in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) (1.3.3).
Communication system 1.3.1
To establish communication the communication system is used. For communication between the ground and the aircraft Radio communication can be used (1.3.1.a) or the Satellite Communication (SATCOM) system can be used (1.3.1.b). For communications inside the aircraft and the ground crew when the aircraft is on the ground an interphone communication system is required (1.3.1.c).
Radio communication 1.3.1.a
There are two different types of radio communication systems, the very high frequency communication (VHF) system and the high frequency (HF) communication system. These communication systems use VHF and HF radio waves to transmit voice or data transmissions. The VHF system consists of multiple VHF voice/data radios, which means that both data and voice communications can be established. If the data mode is selected for a VHF radio only data communications will be available and only one VHF radio can be in data mode at same the time. The HF radios are used to transmit and receive voice transmissions and use a common antenna. As a consequence only one radio can be used to transmit, because the other HF radio is disconnected. However, both HF radios can simultaneous receive. Both the VHF and HF communication systems are monitored by the Selective-Calling (SELCAL) system, which alerts the crew when the system receives a call from a ground station.
Satellite communication 1.3.1.b
The SATCOM system is a communication system that uses satellites for its communication between Ground Earth Stations (GES) and aircraft. Both voice and data communication can be provided by the SATCOM system. Other than VHF or HF communication systems, the SATCOM signal is not directly send to the aircraft. First the signal is send to a geostationary satellite before it arrives at the aircraft. The Aeronautical Mobile Satellite Service (AMSS) provides a global communications service to aircraft and have created a number of communication channels. There are four different types of channels. In the single P channel GES send data packets addressed to a specific aircraft. The GES uses this unidirectional dedicated communications channel to communicate with all aircraft. Also there is the single R channel providing a unidirectional dedicated communications channel from aircraft to a GES. The multiple T-channels, also unidirectional dedicated communications channels, are used for longer messages from aircraft to a GES. When a GES receives a request over the R channel the T-channels are allocated. For voice communications between the ground and air the multiple C-channels are used, these channels are bi-directional communications channels.
Interphone communication system 1.3.1.c
In order for the flight crew to communicate with passengers, flight attendants and the ground crew the interphone communication system is used. The interphone communication system consists of the flight interphone, service interphone, passenger address and cabin interphone system. The flight interphone system is used to communicate on the flight deck and between the flight deck and the ground crew using the interphone jack located on the nose landing gear wheel well. To communicate between other ground crew stations located around the aircraft the service interphone system is used. The service interphone system and the flight interphone system can be connected to each other. When the flight crew wants to make cabin announcements the passenger address system is used. This system is selected through the flight deck handset or the cabin interphones system. The cabin interphone system makes it possible to communicate between flight attendant stations and the flight deck. If the flight deck initiates a call to a flight attendant station, that is using the passenger address system, the current announcement is not interrupted.
The data link features are controlled by the MFD communications functions. On the MFD the data display from the participating Air Traffic Control (ATC) locations are displayed (1.3.2.a). The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) is controlled by the MFD communications functions and provides the flight information (1.3.2.b).
Air Traffic Control 1.3.2.a
During the flight the aircraft is in contact with the ATC. This contact is controlled by the MFD. The ATC is divided into various sections:
Ground control centre (GCC)
Upper area control centre (UACC)
Area control centre (ACC)
Approach and departure control centre (ADCC)
Tower control centre (TC)
Ground control centre
When the aircraft is on the ground it is controlled by the ground control. This control centre controls the aircraft to a destination on ground either before take-off or after landing. The ground control assists all aircraft and vehicles except those which have no radio.
Upper area control centre
For aircraft that fly above 24.500 feet the upper area control provides flight information. Eurocontrol manages the area above 24.500 feet for almost all of Europe.
Area control centre
The area control centre assists the aircraft to a height of 24.500 feet. It is responsible to a height of 24.500 feet and gives all information about the weather conditions and information about other aircraft. The area control centre guides aircraft that approach an airport to land.
Approach and departure control centre
All approaches and departures are handled by the approach and departure control centre. If an airport has just one runway, the air traffic controller must be able to plan between approaches and landings.
Tower control centre
Tower control is responsible for all air traffic in a radius of 15 km. The specific SIDs and STARs for an aircraft are designated by the TC.
When an air traffic controller has no radar or visual contact with an aircraft, the air traffic controller has to use a system called Identification Position Altitude Time over position Estimated time to Next position after the first next position (IPATEN). When the workload of an air traffic controller is not too high, the air traffic controller can help de ATC for upper air traffic. This applies throughout Europe.
This service helps aircraft that have an emergency and guide the aircraft as much as possible. They also warn the authorities on the airport and control the aid workers to the destination of the aircraft. The alerting services warn the authorities from outside the airport. By every emergency call the alerting services warn the authorities.
The ACARS is a system that provides addressable, digital data links that make it easier for flight crews to exchange routine reports and messages. The ACARS uses world-wide data networks to establish the digital data links. Three data link services are covert by the ACARS, which are the departure clearance (DCL) also known as pre departure clearance (PDC), Data link (digital-)automatic terminal information service( ATIS or D-ATIS) and oceanic clearance. Before departure a Request for Departure Clearance Downlink (RCD) is send by the flight crew, by using DCL. The ATC then sends a Departure Clearance Uplink (CLD) back with the needed information. In turn the flight crew sends an acknowledgement in the form of a Departure clearance acknowledge Downlink (CDA). Before take-off and landing operational information is required, therefore the D-ATIS messages are received. For passage through oceanic regions an Oceanic Clearance Uplink (CLX) is needed, which is send by the ATC after receiving the Oceanic Clearance Request Downlink (RCL). All these operations are done by the ACARS. The terminal wheatear information for pilots (TWIP) data is another data message that is provided via ACARS. The TWIP consists of information about the weather within a 30 NM radius of the terminal.
NOTAM AIRAC 1.3.3
NOTAMs are messages that provide information that are needed during flight. The flight crew is informed about the condition, change or establishment in any aeronautical procedure, service, facility, or hazard. The NOTAMs are controlled and regulated by the Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control (AIRAC) system (1.3.3.a). This system gives a timeframe for the NOTAMs and makes sure that the dates are all uniform. There are two special kinds of NOTAMs, the SNOWTAM and the ASHTAM (1.3.3.b).
NOTAMs can either be the traditional NOTAMs or the digital NOTAM. The traditional NOTAM provides mainly loosely structured free text for temporary information. For the increasingly automated aeronautical information management system the traditional NOTAM is not compatible. Therefore the digital NOTAM is developed. The digital NOTAM can be checked automatically and visually by human operators, to eliminate mistypes or missing data. NOTAMs can either be new, replaced by another NOTAM or cancel another NOTAM. The type of NOTAMs can be identified by identifiers placed after the reference number. The three identifiers are NOTAM new (NOTAMN), NOTAM replacement (NOTAMR) and NOTAM cancellation (NOTAMC). NOTAMs are made according to the ICAO standardisation, where multiple codes are used (Appendix xxx-1). There are fifteen data items that could be necessary of each NOTAM type and checklist, items three to nine are part of item Q). Item Q) is the qualifier, in this item can be checked if the NOTAM is qualified according to the NOTAM Selection Criteria (NSC) tables Not all data items are compulsory for each NOTAM type (Appendix xxx).The fifteen data items are:
Reference to Series/Nr
Items F) & G)
The first letter of the NOTAM is the series identifier, which is a letter from A to Z, except the S and T. Then the NOTAM number and year of publications is shown. The number is for digits and the year is 2 digits. After the year the NOTAM type is shown.
Reference to Series/Nr
If the NOTAM is a NOTAMR or NOTAMC a reference to the NOTAM that is replaced or cancelled is needed, stating the series and number of that NOTAM.
This item will contain the ICAO location indicator of the FIR in which the aircraft is located. However, if multiple FIRs are concerned that are of the same country, the ICAO nationality letters are used and followed by 'XX'. When multiple FIRs of different countries are concerned, the ICAO nationality letters of the responsible country is used followed by 'XX'.
The NOTAM code is a five letter code that is presented in this item. First the letter 'Q' makes it possible to identify this group of letters as the NOTAM code. The second and third letter are a code for the subject of the NOTAM and the fourth and fifth letter are code for the condition. If there is no code for the subject 'XX' is used, the same applies to the condition, with the exception of 'TT', trigger NOTAM, which is always used.
The code of type of traffic this NOTAM relates to is reported in this qualifier. There are four codes for this item, stating the NOTAM relates to IFR, VFR, IFR and VFR traffic or id the NOTAM is a checklist. The codes are respectively 'I', 'V', 'IV', 'K'.
A NOTAM can have five different purpose entries, some of which can be combined. The NOTAM can be of immediate attention of aircraft operators, coded with an 'N'. If the NOTAM is a pre-flight Information Bulletin (PIB) entry the code is a 'B'. An 'O' is code for an NOTAM concerning flight operations. 'M' is code for miscellaneous and 'K' is code for a checklist.
A NOTAM can be presented in a PIB, which has multiple categories. The scope determents the category in which the NOTAM is presented. The code for the checklist is 'K' like in traffic and purpose. 'A' is code for aerodrome, 'E' for en route and 'W' is code for warning. The NOTAM can relate to both aerodrome and en route or aerodrome and warning, which is coded with 'AE' for aerodrome/en route and 'AW' for aerodrome/warning.
The NOTAM relates to a vertical section of airspace between upper and lower limits. The limits are only given as flight level, except in case of airspace reservations and navigational warnings. In case of these warnings and reservations the values are rounded down for the lower limit and up for the upper limit to the nearest 100ft increment. The numbers presented in this qualifier are in those cases the amount of 100 ft.
The coordinates that are used in this qualifier depends on the scope of the NOTAM. The aerodrome reference point (ARP) coordinates are used for a NOTAM with a scope of 'A'. If the scope is 'AE' or 'AW' the coordinates can differ from the ARP. There are three possible different coordinates for a scope 'E' or 'W'. If the scope refers to a known or given point these coordinates are used. If the scope refers to an area or cannot be located to a specific location the centre of a encompassing circle of the whole area is used. The radius of the circle that is used is in NM (Appendix xxx+1). The default radius is 999, however, this must be avoided, resulting in unnecessary PIB coverage.
Item A) must be identical to the FIR qualifier in case of a single FIR. If the aerodrome does not have a ICAO location indicator the two or one ICAO nationality letter(s) must be used followed by 'XX' or 'XXX'. A separate NOTAM must be issued for each airworthiness directive (AD). When there are multiple FIRs concerned up to seven FIR location indicators can be used in this item.
In this item the date is presented starting with two digits for the year, followed by two digits for the month, two digits for the day, two digits for the hour and finally two digits for the minutes.
The end of validity is presented in this item in the same way as the date is presented in item B.
Item D) is only inserted if the information contained in the NOTAM is relevant in periods between the starting date and the end of validation. The periods are stated in the same way as the dates in item B) and C), with the start date followed by a hyphen closing with the end date of the period.
In this item free text in plain language is presented without containing NOTAM code.
Items F) & G)
Items F) and G) are used if there are Airspace Reservations ('QR') or Navigational Warnings ('QW'). In these items the upper and lower limits are inserted as an altitude (AMSL) or height (AGL) in meters or feet
SNOWTAM & ASHTAM 1.3.3.b
The SNOWTAM and ASHTAM are special NOTAMS. For winter conditions only the SNOWTAMs are provided. SNOWTAMS provide information concerning runway and taxiway conditions. For example friction on the runway as well as the next planned observation or measurement of the run- and taxiway. An ASHTAM provides information concerning volcano activity, eruption and/or ash clouds that could have an impact on aircraft operations. In order to provide this information a volcano level of alert colour code is used.
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FCOM II B777